Selling online is not an endeavor to be taken lightly. While ecommerce can be very profitable for your business, it can also open your business to unnecessary risk and headaches if your Internet marketing company doesn't advise you properly. There is no one-size-fits-all ecommerce solution, so Webtivity Design Solutions will collect the information required to help you make the best decision for your company.
If you process credit cards or store any sensitive customer data you should be extremely concerned about data security. Hotels and restaurants are the top two industries where credit card data is stolen. While large data breaches are heavily reported in the news, most don't realize that approximately 80% of all data breaches occur from small businesses. And approximately 70% of small businesses are immediately forced to file for bankruptcy if it is determined credit card data was stolen due to a lack of adherence to PCI Compliance standards. That's because credit card companies will impose fines up to $5,000.00 per account that was breached. So if you had 100 credit card numbers stolen, do the math.
With that level of risk you must make sure your Internet marketing company has the expertise to advise you properly. Your business and livelihood is at stake.
Learn more about web application security.
Selecting the Right Ecommerce Solution
Shopping cart software varies widely in functionality, search engine friendliness, and overall capabilities. A detailed discussion will be required before recommending a shopping cart for your business. Here are some considerations that would be required before your shopping cart can be selected:
- Does your shopping cart integrate with your Point of Sale (POS) software?
- Does your shopping cart integrate with your accounting software?
- Which payment gateway(s) does your merchant service connect with?
- Do you require freight shipping options?
- Do you want to ship internationally?
- Do you want to offer affiliate codes?
- Do you want to offer gift certificates?
- How do you want your products to be displayed on the website?
- Do you need to offer shoppers the ability to choose color variations, sizes, or other selections?
Not all shopping carts have these capabilities and typically cannot be added in the future. That means you will have to invest in another shopping cart in the future if you do not plan properly from the start.
One solution to consider is a "hosted" shopping cart, which means you pay a company a monthly fee to rent their shopping cart framework. Your initial investment may be slightly less using this approach, but you end up paying more in the long-term because the monthly hosting rates are much higher using this type of solution. You also have less flexibility because you do not own your shopping cart, you are only renting it from a provider. That means if you become dissatisfied with your provider, you cannot move your shopping cart and content somewhere else.
Webtivity Design Solutions normally recommends "portable" shopping carts, which means you are not locked into one hosting provider. This means you own your website, shopping cart license, and all your content. You will pay a one-time license fee for your shopping cart software, which can range from $500-$1,500+ depending on the features required for your ecommerce website. There are then development fees to configure your shopping cart framework, develop your website, and train you how to operate it.
You must also consider that if you have an extremely active shopping cart (a lot of traffic and transactions) you will most likely need to invest in a virtual dedicated or dedicated hosting plan to allow for adequate bandwidth and web space.